By Farkhod Tolipov
March 26, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Three recent events have recently drawn the attention of the public, experts and official circles in Central Asia: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and his meetings with the presidents of these states on 1-4 February 2020; the “C5+1” meeting in Tashkent; and the announcement of a new U.S. Strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025. In Central Asian capitals as well as in Moscow and Beijing, these three events served to alter the existing geopolitical calculus: Washington effectively reminded Central Asians and U.S. rivals Russia and China of itself and its interests. It thus seems that the old Great Game continues.
By Nurlan Aliyev
December 19, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On October 17-18, 2019, the 7th China-Central Asia Cooperation Forum, was held in Nanning, Guanxi province. The goal of the Forum was to further strengthen ties between China and the countries of Central Asia. Aside from its economic and security related interests in the region, China is also hoping to improve its image with the help of soft power influences, among populations where Sinophobic sentiments are strong. Despite several reports and information on Chinese projects with this aim, the question remains how effective China’s soft power in Central Asia really is.
By Natalia Konarzewska
November 12, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On September 11-12, Kazakhstan’s new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev paid his first official visit to China, aiming to upgrade bilateral ties and generate more Chinese investment in the country. Yet the official rosy picture of flourishing bilateral relations is clouded by the plight of ethnic Kazakhs inhabiting China’s Xinjiang region and the social and environmental concerns surrounding Chinese investments in Kazakhstan. For the past several years, China’s economic clout in the country has been growing but social attitudes towards China have simultaneously deteriorated rapidly, resulting in a rise of anti-Chinese sentiment and protests – the latest taking place in Kazakhstan’s major cities in early September. Moreover, Kazakhstan is undergoing a political transition process which makes the country even more vulnerable to the strong influence of its eastern neighbor.
By Elzbieta Pron and Emilie Szwajnoch
October 31, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On September 21, another wave of popular anti-Chinese protests burst in Kazakhstan’s two main cities – Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) and Almaty. During the demonstrations, Uyghur protesters joined Kazakh activists and jointly voiced their demands regarding Kazakhstan relationship with China. However, the issue of Kazakhs and Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang camps has been sidelined as a broader agenda has taken charge and the protests been overtaken by emotional anti-Chinese sentiments. While the official Kazakh response to the problem of Xinjiang camps has been very limited, yet the most active among Central Asian states, the collective voice of protesters is hardly going to have any effect on politics.
By Azad Garibov
October 24, 2019, the CACI Analyst
With a promise to increase gas imports from Central Asia and to resume gas purchases from Turkmenistan after a three-year break, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom became increasingly active in Central Asian gas politics in the summer of 2019. This stands in contrast to Russia’s relative passivity in this area over the last decade, as its significantly lowered imports of gas from the region has allowed China to become the dominant player in Central Asia’s gas market. However, Russian gas export to Europe has hit record levels for several consecutive years, implying an opportunity to revive the practice of re-exporting Central Asian gas to Europe.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.